PETALING JAYA: The government’s decision to allocate funds to help the B40 group during the movement control order (MCO) is timely, said economists.

Economist Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai said the stimulus package announced last Friday would be very helpful to the B40 and M40 groups.

“A B40 family needs about RM2,500 a month to survive and the RM1,600 aid will go a long way to helping them,” he said yesterday.

“Although most B40 families don’t get close to the RM2,500 they need, the help that will be provided will ease their burden.”

Barjoyai said each family member needs at least RM10 for daily expenses, which works out to RM300 a month.

He noted at the end of July, they will also receive the outstanding Cost of Living Aid (BSH) pay-out.

He said with all this aid being provided to them, it should make it easier for them to weather the MCO.

Sunway University Business School economics professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the four weeks shutdown has hurt the B40 group but the aid being provided by the government will help them overcome some of their problems.

He said they are facing financial difficulties because they are unable to work and earn extra income.

Yeah said the government aid is a layer of protection that will prevent some of the B40 group members from falling into poverty.

He said if possible, they should try and save some of the money to help them meet future needs or to deal with the MCO if it is extended.

He said they have to be prepared to deal with unforseen problems.

Former Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the government has carefully thought it through before announcing the aid package aimed at helping the B40 group.

He said although the package may seem comprehensive and deals with the needs of this group, there will still be gaps.

“You cannot prepare for every eventuality, there will be gaps and you must be ready to plug them as soon as they appear.

“There will be groups that are not in the aid package, so the government must identify them and help them.”

Ramon said the stimulus package is good but it is important to ensure it is equitable, helping every needy citizen.

He said the government must account for every single sen that is spent to avoid misuse and abuse.

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